Welcome to Rea’s Day, a daily blog that will be an extension of the Rea’s Say column that I have been producing online for Buckeye Sports Bulletin the past decade or so.
I began my writing career back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and typewriters were the tool of choice. Typewriters, boys and girls, were mechanical devices that utilized a keyboard, metal arms, an ink ribbon and good, old-fashioned paper to get a story from the brain to written form. They seem as antiquated today as rotary phones, propeller airplanes and Model Ts.
It’s a whole new ballgame these days where any schlub with a computer and Internet access can pass himself off as a journalist. Meanwhile, those of us who have tried to hone our craft over the past 30-some years are embracing new things such as blogging to remain relevant. After all, what good is knowing something if you can’t share it?
My hope is that this blog will entertain as well as inform you. It will not be held strictly to Ohio State stuff although it will definitely retain a scarlet and gray bent. Basically, it will feature regular musings – news, opinion, off-the-wall stuff – on a variety of topics. Some days will have longer entries than others while some days will have more than one entry. Some days may have none at all.
Feel free to comment on anything you read, whether in the comment box below or back on BuckeyeSports.com. Above all, I hope we all have some fun with this. Here we go …
PLUCK OF THE IRISH
There has been lots of speculation on BuckeyeSports.com about Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith. Since Notre Dame AD Kevin White announced he was leaving to take a similar position at Duke, Buckeye fans have started to wonder if Smith – a Domer alum – might be interested in returning to his alma mater.
It’s possible, I guess, whenever the old school is involved. But it’s not like Smith is the only person available with Notre Dame ties.
Officials in South Bend will also likely look at Bubba Cunningham, the current athletic director at Tulsa who previously served as associate AD at Notre Dame. SMU athletic director Steve Orsini is also an alum and was captain on the 1977 national championship football team.
Other candidates could include MAC commissioner Rick Chryst, another Notre Dame grad; current Georgetown AD Bernard Muir, who served as deputy athletic director under White before leaving for the nation’s capital; and maybe even former Fighting Irish basketball star John Paxson, who knows a thing or two about running big-time programs. He is currently general manager of the Chicago Bulls.
And there’s always Missy Conboy. Don’t know who that is? She is a former Notre Dame basketball player, has worked in the university’s athletic department for two decades and was White’s deputy AD. She was also named interim athletic director when White left.
Of course, if Smith leaves Ohio State, it would touch off an entirely new round of speculation about his successor. Expect the university to do what it has done the last two times it needed a new AD – comb the countryside for candidates and make a hire based upon past successes.
Remember that hiring an athletic director isn’t the same as hiring a head football coach, so discount the Ohio State ties. You can also likely count out Archie Griffin, who is making more money (with significantly fewer headaches) as president and CEO of the Ohio State Alumni Association.
You can also likely count out Jim Tressel as long as he’s coaching football. You might be able to wear both hats at Youngstown State but there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do both jobs at Ohio State. Besides, if you put Tressel in the AD’s chair, then you need a replacement for him as head football coach and I don’t think Bobby or Betty Buckeye are ready to swallow that bitter pill any time soon.
LEGEND VS. LEGEND
This may or may not be Joe Paterno’s final season as head coach at Penn State. He is in the final season of his contract and there are plenty in Happy Valley who are eager to see JoePa ride off into the sunset.
Nevertheless, the 2008 season will mark Paterno’s 43rd as head coach of the Nittany Lions, the NCAA record for coaching at one school. It beats the previous mark of 41 held by the legendary Amos Alonzo Stagg, who led the University of Chicago from 1892 to 1932.
Paterno has a way to go to beat Stagg’s mark for most overall years as a college coach, however. Before arriving in Chicago, Stagg was head coach at Springfield College for two seasons, and then had a 14-year run as head coach at Pacific from 1933-46. In all, Stagg was a head coach on the college level for a staggering 57 seasons.
After retiring as a head coach, Stagg was an assistant on his son’s staff at Susquehanna from 1947-52 and served as kicking coach at Stockton (Calif.) Junior College from 1953-58. If you’re scoring at home, that’s a total of 69 years as a football coach.
Stagg, who lived to the ripe old age of 102, is also credited with several innovations in the game of football. He was the first to employ the end around, fake punt, quick kick, man in motion, double reverse, Statue of Liberty play and the huddle. He also came up with padding the goal posts and putting numbers on the backs of his players’ jerseys.
MORE OF A GOOD (?) THING
Just in case you thought there weren’t enough bowl games, there will be two more this season. Joining the glut of postseason contests will be the Congressional Bowl, scheduled for the new Nationals Park in Washington D.C., and the St. Petersburg Bowl, set for Tropicana Field in St. Pete, Fla.
Both games will be played Dec. 20, the first day of the “official” bowl season. That is a Saturday this year, and the Congressional Bowl gets first dubs. It kicks off at 11 a.m. that day to be followed at 4:30 p.m. by the New Mexico Bowl. Then comes the St. Petersburg Bowl at 6:30 p.m. and the day’s festivities conclude with the Las Vegas Bowl at 8 p.m.
The two new games bring the total of Division I-A bowl games to 117,364. Just kidding. There are now 34 postseason contests. Just seems like 117,364.
I’ve always had some strange fascination with birthdays, so we’ll make that part of the daily blog.
Those celebrating today include movie star Tony Curtis (Jamie Lee’s dad in case you didn’t know), basketball Hall of Famer Billy Cunningham, ABC play-by-play man Brad Nessler, CNN newshound Anderson Cooper, Cleveland Indians slugger Travis Hafner and Atlanta Hawks paint man Al Horford.
GOTTA LOOK GOOD
Remember when track guys did everything they could to streamline their bodies for competition, trying to get that extra nanosecond of speed? Seems that is much too old-school for the kids these days.
Trindon Holliday of LSU – remember him? – is also a track star for the Tigers and he sports a huge earring and sunglasses when he runs outdoors. Apparently those accoutrements don’t slow Holliday down any. He ran a 10.2 in the 100 meters at last year’s NCAA meet. Look for him at the Beijing rather than Baton Rouge this fall.
POLICE BLOTTER SEASON
A couple of years ago, I wrote a column to christen the months of June and July as “Police Blotter Season.” Since then – slowly but surely – Ohio State players have stayed out of trouble and the Buckeyes’ spate of run-ins with the law has largely subsided.
Meanwhile, the beat goes on around the country. In just one 36-hour period during the final week of May, a check of the newswires found a former Minnesota player sentenced for criminal sexual conduct, two Penn State players pleading guilty in an on-campus fight case and a player from Miami (Ohio) arrested on charges of aggravated burglary, burglary and assault.
TURKEY DAY PRESERVED … FOR NOW
Remember about the plan, beginning in 2009, to extend the Big Ten season to the Saturday after Thanksgiving? In the words of Lee Corso, not so fast.
The league has determined that it cannot happen until 2010 because of scheduling conflicts involving non-conference games.
That means only some teams are slated to get an off week in 2009. Ohio State will not get an off week that season, starting the schedule Sept. 5 against Navy and playing 12 straight weeks before winding up in Ann Arbor on Nov. 21 – the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
The Buckeyes do get a week off this coming season. They don’t play the first Saturday in November, taking a break between the Oct. 25 night game against Penn State and the Nov. 7 contest at Northwestern. Still, the team finishes the 2008 season with Michigan on Nov. 22, the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
NO TIGER = BORING
I make an annual visit to the Memorial Tournament in suburban Columbus but this year’s event had a different feel to it. I hate to say this but the absence of Tiger Woods changed the entire atmosphere of the tournament. The crowds were smaller and seemed more passive, and there wasn’t the electricity that is generated when the best player in the world is in the field.
I’m not a Tiger hater although I hope he doesn’t break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships. I know he probably will, though, and I greatly admire his determination to win every tournament he enters. That determination is what sets Tiger apart. There are others on the PGA Tour who can come close to his talent, but none has his drive and none shares his sheer will to win.
And, evidently, none can match his presence to change a tournament from merely another event on Tour to something special.
Nicklaus has always left himself the option of playing in his own tournament but pretty much discounted that ever happening on the eve of the Memorial.
“I just said if I was ever going to play again, it would be here,” Jack said. “But if you would see me play, I don’t think you would think that I would consider that much of an option.”
The 68-year-old Golden Bear went on to say that he played the Muirfield Village course – set up for the tournament – on the preceding Sunday, the first time he had teed it up anywhere since mid-March.
“I played the back tees and I mean … well, I broke 80 but it was only because I cheated a little bit,” he said with a smile.
The guy is 68 and he broke 80 from the back tees? From the back tees at Muirfield, I’d need a bunch of strokes and a whole lot of cheating to break 80 – on the front nine.
OK, I’LL WATCH
As you may or may not know, I don’t have much use for the NBA. Supposed stars who can’t shoot and aren’t allowed to play man defense isn’t the kind of basketball I am interested in watching.
However, since the Boston Celtics are playing the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals, even I may tune in to watch. I won’t go so far as to say I’ll watch every game from start to finish – everyone knows you need only to watch the final two minutes of an NBA game.
But I’ll watch some of the first game in prime time on Thursday and make a determination how much more I can take.
How happy am I that the Reds finally promoted Jay Bruce? Not only am I a lifelong Cincinnati fan, I went out on a limb and selected Bruce for my fantasy team before the season began. In less than a week, he has raised my team batting average .003 points. Happy doesn’t begin to describe the emotion.
Thanks to Amy Moeller, Tyler’s mom, for putting me onto the WordPress website. Her participation answers two questions about BuckeyeSports.com – not only do the parents of players read the message boards, women do, too. Think about those things the next time you post.
I’ll leave you with one of Yogi Berra’s lesser-known sayings but one of my all-time favorites: “You’d better cut the pizza in four slices because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”